Saturday, 3 December 2016

Three U.S. state senators who were also minor background characters in the original Star Wars films

Saxby Chambliss (Republican) Georgia 2001-2015

A sponsor of bill H.R. 2335, "to exempt from solid waste designation resources that are recycled," Chambliss can be witnessed campaigning on this very issue in the trash compactor scene in the original Star Wars film.

Unlike Chewbacca, Han, and Luke, Chambliss does not emerge from the compactor and makes no further appearances in the film, leading some viewers to speculate that he was crushed between the encroaching walls before he could escape.

Chambliss added fuel to these rumours while campaigning in favour H.R. 2335. In a televised press conference he stated that he was the only serving U.S. senator to have died in a trash compactor on the first Death Star, in the original cut of Star Wars, before it was re-titled Star Wars: A New Hope.

On a separate occasion he voiced his opinion that Han did indeed shoot first and was entirely justified in doing so. 

Vance Hartke (Democrat) Indiana 1959-1977 

As an early supporter of Medicare and Medicaid, Hartke was a natural choice when it came to casting an assistant to the 2-1B Surgical Droid in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Originally, George Lucas had intended Empire to focus on Luke Skywalker's long rehabilitation, following injuries sustained during a wampa attack – treatment that he would have been unable to afford under the Emperor Palpatine's draconian health insurance bill.

When the film took a different direction, the majority of Harkte's scenes were left on the cutting room floor, where they were eaten by scavenging beetles.

Fortunately some footage has survived. In the photograph above he is pictured assisting in the autopsy of a tauntuan.

Lucas said of Harkte: “Vance could dissect a tauntaun in his sleep. I am in no doubt that, had he not been a long-serving U.S. Senator, he could pursued a very successful career as a veterinarian on the ice planet of Hoth.

Orrin Hatch (Republican) Utah, 1977-present

In 2000, Hatch failed to secure the Republication presidential nomination, with the popular vote going to George W. Bush.

He fared little better, politically, in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, where he can be seen clad in the traditional Utah blue and beige national dress, at the head of a coup to depose the Rebel Alliance Leader, Mon Mothma, while she is distracted by plans for an assault on the second Death Star.

Before he can dispatch Mothma with his ice-pick, Orrin is wrestled to the ground by her formidable amphibious mon-calamari bodyguards and dragged away. In the digitally remastered versions of the film, this scene occurs off-camera.

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